Ligaments are dense fibrous connective tissue which connect bone to bone. They provide stability to a given joint. The knee has four principal ligaments. The anterior cruciate ligament stabilizes the knee and prevents forward motion of the tibia (shin bone) in relation to the femur (thigh bone). The ACL originates from the femur (thigh bone) and is attached to the tibia .
The ACL is the most commonly injured knee ligament and is very common in athletes. Injury occurs during sudden dislocation, torsion or hyper-extension of the knee. Diagnosis can be made clinically with either the anterior drawer test or Lachman test. The diagnosis is typically confirmed by MRI.
Surgical options include repair of the damaged ligament vs complete reconstruction with a patient’s own tendon. Complications from surgery include infection, blood clots, technical failure, damage to muscles, tendons and associated ligaments and the risk of anesthesia.
Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to regenerate damaged ligaments. At Centeno-Schultz Clinic using the Regenexx procedure we are utilizing regenerative therapies to treat ACL injuries. These treatments include the injection of prolotherapy as well as autologous culture expanded mesenchymal stem cells directly into the ACL. Below is a recent injection of stem cells into the ACL. 30 days post injection patient reports improved stability and decreased pain.